Iowa State Bird
Iowa state bird: American Goldfinch Carduelis
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Iowa State Bird Description:
- Size: 4 to 5 inches (11 - 13 cm)
- Wingspan: 7 to 9 inches (19 - 22 cm)
- Weight: .39 to .71 ounces (11 - 20 g)
The American Goldfinch is a beautiful little songbird.
During the spring and summer: the male has a bright
yellow body and black cap, tail and wings (with white wingbars). The
female is yellowish-green with black tail and wings (with white
During the fall and winter: the male has a
yellowish-brown body and black cap, tail and wings (with white
wingbars). The female is grayish-brown with dark brown tail and wings
(with white wingbars).
The American Goldfinch can be found in weedy fields, young forests,
cultivated areas, orchards and gardens. Their winter habitats vary as
they are attracted into urban areas by bird feeders.
The American Goldfinch eats seeds, insects and berries. Has a
preference for thistle seeds. Can be attracted to finch
using nyjer seed
These finches build their nests in trees or shrubs 4 to 20 feet above
the ground. The nest will be constructed from weeds, vines and downy
filaments from wind-dispersed seeds. It will use caterpillar webbing
to hold everything together. The female lays 4 to 6 pale blue eggs
and the incubation period is usually around 12 to 14 days.
A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Iowa State
- Most finches molt once per year in the fall.
The American Goldfinch molts a second time, in the springtime.
The second molting brings out their beautiful yellow breeding color,
supporting their nickname "wild canary".
- The female will often leave the male, with
the young birds still in the nest, to find another mate.
- In the winter, these birds can be found in large
flocks. During the breeding season, they will feed in much
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